What we’re reading: Tracking infections and opioids, treating TB, Kofi Annan and global health — following evidence to do the right thing

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Infectious disease monitoring: More care needed to control impacts of opioid crisis – Surveillance that spots rises in rates of diseases linked to injecting drug use, care that combines treatment for addiction and for infections, and a workforce trained and ready to respond to the opioid crisis across Kentucky and the nation are needed now, the authors, infectious disease physicians write. The House of Representatives has passed legislation answering those needs, they write, and now the Senate should follow suit.

Support South Africa at the UN – we need better & affordable TB medicines – While estimates show that bedaquiline, a drug central to the injection-free treatment for drug-resistant tuberculosis recommended by the World Health Organization can be produced at a fraction of its current cost, the drug remains out of reach of the great majority of those who need it, the authors note. To cut deaths, disabilities and illnesses from TB by using the new medicines and new treatment regimens that cure the disease faster, lower drug prices will critical, just as they were to extending the reach of HIV treatment. But while international laws protect the right to health, concrete commitments to that effect are missing from the draft declaration that the upcoming United Nations meeting on ending TB will issue. The authors ask other nations to follow South Africa’s example and commit to a course that will end the impacts of the disease.

What Kofi Annan achieved in healthcare – From highlighting needs for education and scientific research, to linking the need to conquer HIV in Africa with development goals, Kofi Annan acted on the principle that access to health is a human right to be fought for.

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